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VOL. IX NO. 2 



Published periodically and distributed to the 

Associates of the Woods Hole Oceano- 

graphic Institution and others 

interested in Oceanography 


Founder Chairman 


Chairman, Board of Trustees 


President and Director 


H. B. Bigeloiv Oceanographer 


Associate Director of Biology and Chemistry 

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Woods Hole, Massachusetts 

VOL. IX, No. 2, December 1962 

Eubalaena glacialis 
Right Whale 


O - - that is not a hippopotamus on the front cover but a Right Whale, 
here shown disappearing again. Photographed by the editor within a few 
hundred yards off Menemsha, Martha's Vineyard. Right Whales have come 
to the Cape Cod area in increasing numbers in recent years. See page 3. 


VOL. IX, No. 2, December 1962 

people like dogs, some like cats and some despise both. We may 
admire the noble lion, but less so the tiger -- yet, he is prettier. Few people 
like snakes; we do not mind the giraffe and are amused by monkeys, 
excepting the gorilla and the baboon. Birds are generally nice some of 
our best friends watch them - - but the vulture is not admirable; while the 
stork, a noble bird, is the world's worst enemy as he has no sense of balance 
and overpopulates. 

What then are completely lovable animals? The Whales. Everyone 
seems to love whales, particularly so in recent years since the smaller types 
have been exhibited in captivity. With only one exception when a dead 
whale has come to beach in front of one's cottage - - the whale appears to 
be universally admired. Thus, with Mr. Schevill's phonograph record" as 
an excuse, we have devoted a large part of this issue to our collection of 
whale photographs which otherwise would remain largely unseen. 

-'Schevill, William E. and Watkins, William A., 
1962. "Whale and Porpoise Voices." A phono- 
graph record. 24 pp., 35 text figs., Phonograph 
disk. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 
Woods Hole, Mass. 

Spotted porpoises, Stenella plagiodon, swimming under the bow of the R.V. 'Atlantis'. 

Their "music" is shown to the right above. 

"Whale and Porpoise Voices", a phonograph record at 
33 1/3 R. P. M., has just been released by the Institution. 




0.2 0.4 




y . 

HY study the vocal sounds made by whales? For a 
curiosity-powered, or "pure", scientist this is not too difficult 
a question to answer: "Because they are neither well-known 
nor understood, and happen to have caught my attention". 
(As so often happens, some aspects of this study impinge 
on the practical sphere of applied or dollar-driven science, 
but here we are talking only of the fun of it; this is not 
a touch.) 

During World War II many people on both sides listened 
to underwater sounds for military reasons. Not only the 
wanted sounds (those made by enemy ships), but a bewilder- 
ing variety of others were- heard. Most of these were 
ascribed to animals living in the sea, usually as "fish noises", 
and at first only a few were more closely attributed. Some 
were ascribed to whales, in part correctly, but without 
identification of the kind of whale; most military listeners 
were not biologists, and in any case the traditional naval 
sonar room is woefully deficient in windows. 

Included in my post-war plans was a project to try and 
find out just who was talking, and in 1948 we succeeded in 
identifying certain very characteristic sounds as the calls 
of a particular species, Delphinapterus leucas (beluga or 
white whale). Since then, with the support of both the Navy 
and the National Science Foundation, we have listened and 
recorded as opportunity offered, accumulating many reels 
of magnetic tape; the present phonograph record is made up 
of selections of these. 

Whales - 

The military introduction to the 
subject was important because it pro- 
vided expensive listening equipment 
without which biologists would not 
have heard much. Sound is very 
poorly transmitted between water 
and air, so that only the loudest 
underwater sounds are audible in 
air. Putting one's head in the water 
is uncomfortable in the first place, 
and doesn't help much, since immer- 
sion obliges one to hear by bone 
conduction, by which means man's 
hearing is very dull indeed. The pre- 
instrumental accounts of underwater 
sounds reflect fortunate combinations 
of loud sounds and quiet places, with 
perhaps mechanical coupling as 
through a resonant boat hull. 

Kelley's Band 

One of the nineteenth century 
Arctic tales describes how a British 
captain sat in his cabin in his be- 
calmed and beset ship, and heard a 
riotous racket from below. "Some of 
the crew have broken into the spirit 
room," he supposed, and called the 
Master-at-Arms. But all was intact 
below, and it turned out that the 
captain had been hearing white 
whales shouting under his quiet ship. 
There is another famous tale, of what 
in New Bedford was known as Kel- 
ley's Band. Several Yankee whale- 
ships were anchored under Indian 
Point (Mys Chaplina) at the southern 
entrance to Bering Strait, waiting for 
favorable whaling conditions. Some 
of the captains were visiting in the 
cabin of one ship, when Capt. Kelley, 
who had been leaning his head 
against the side, announced that he 
heard bowheads singing, and went on 
deck amid jeers and ridicule, called 
away his boat, and returned to his 
ship. After he had sailed around the 
point, the other captains followed, 
and found him with two bowheads 
alongside, ready for cutting in. So far 
as I know, no phonograph records 
have been made of this whale 
(Balaena mysticetus), although we 
have the moans of its near relative 
Eubalaena glacialis (right whale, 
Nordkaper) on our disk. 

Herbert L. Aldrich (in his book, 
"Arctic Alaska and Siberia", 1889) 
wrote: "With bowhead whales the 
cry is something like the hoo-oo-oo of 
the hoot-owl, although longer drawn 
out, and more of a humming sound 
than a hoot. Beginning on F, the tone 
may rise to G, A, B, and sometimes 
to C, before slanting back to F again. 
With the humpbacked whale the tone 
is much finer, often sounding like the 
E string of a violin". The late Henry 
Mandley, Jr., who for some years was 
second mate of 'Atlantis', has sung me 
the song of the humpback as he heard 
it when a boy in the forecastle of an 
anchored whaler. 

But all this was in the good old 
days, before engines and generators 
made even idle ships noisy. Now, 
without special equipment, we can 
hear only the very loudest of under- 
water sounds, and these only occa- 

Find them 

Merely going to sea with listening 
gear is not enough for this work. First 
you have to find the animals, which 
requires a better lookout than most 
ships keep. Besides, it is important, 
even necessary, to have some sort of 
operational control of the vessel, so 
that you can change course and speed 
to close the sighting, and so that you 
can devote time to staying with the 
whales or porpoises, which can be 
extremely difficult if they are shy. 
The need to be able to take over the 
ship when animals are found makes 
this an expensive sport, for it is awk- 
ward to combine other oceanographic 
projects in one cruise if unscheduled 
interruptions are likely to upset 
methodical work. Even after you 
have found animals, you will ordi- 
narily hear many unwanted sounds. 
Steps have to be taken to eliminate 
the noises made by one's own ship, 
usually by stopping all shipboard 
machinery and putting the hydro- 
phone so far away that it will not 
pick up the noise of waves against 
the ship. 

Eubalaena glacialis, Right Whale or Noordkaper and two of its low moans, as made 
visible on a spectogram. Low tones are at the bottom, and high tones at the top of a 
spectogram. Intensity of the sound is indicated by the darkness of the trace: the fainter 
the sound, the fainter the mark. This provides a more ob/ecf/ve description than 

Mr. Aldrich's musical notation, (see text). 






1 1.5 



Trie views below are all that one may see of a Noordkaper from a passing ship, thus 
illustrating the difficulty of identification as explained on page 7. 

This is the spout 


This is what one may see 

And this is the beast, the finback, 
Balaenoptera physalus, and its moans 




30' , 


Whales - 

And then there remains the prob- 
lem of identifying the sound maker. 
A great deal of study and experience, 
supported by occasional capture of 
specimens (which in turn may be 
followed by long study in a museum), 
is required before one is able to form 
a reliable opinion of the talker's 
identity. Of course a few kinds are 
difficult to mistake, such as sperm 
whales, right whales, and humpbacks, 
but the several species of Balaenop- 
tera, the fin whales, are distinguish- 
able only after much experience; this 
applies even more strongly to the 
many species of the smaller delphin- 
ids which we call porpoises. 

The larger whales are usually 
detected by the spout, which may be 
seen as far away as five mUes when 
the light is favorable. Smaller whales 
and porpoises, with inconspicuous 
spouts, are usually spotted by white 
water made as they splash. It requires 
a good deal of familiarity to recognize 
and identify the species from the 
small amount of animal that one 
usually sees. We have learned to 
know some of the larger whales apart 
by the shape of the spout (exhalation) 
and the amount of back or tail shown 
above the surface at the brief breath- 
ing exposure before the whale rolls 
under again. This sort of hint is not 
so useful for the smaller kinds, which 
must generally be well seen, or actu- 
ally caught, to be identified. 

Many species 

Perhaps a dozen or so kinds of 
whales and porpoises have widely 
understood common names, since 
they are seen by relatively few people, 
and not particularly often by those 
few, who consequently do not always 
make sharp distinctions ("You mean 
there's more than one kind of por- 
poise?"). We use the technical names, 
which are understood by biologists of 
all nations, regardless of language, 
and give only such common names as 
we have found in use by seamen. 

There are less than one hundred 
ten kinds of whales and porpoises. As 
far as we are aware, the sounds of 

well under twenty-five have been 
identifiably recorded. Eighteen pf 
these are represented on our record. 
Three of these are mysticetes (baleen 
whales), and the rest are odontocetes 
(toothed whales). This is not too un- 
reasonable a proportion, since there 
are only about a dozen mysticete 
species against some ninety-five 

Our phonograph record is mainly 
intended to be a circular letter to our 
scientific colleagues, giving them 
brief samples of the sounds we have 
recorded, together with spectrograms 
of some of these sounds. However, 
we also hope that others may wish 
to hear these samples*, therefore 
with each record we have included 
pictures of the animals and some 
general remarks meant to be helpful. 

Like many a cetologist before us, 
we hope that our drawings are more 
faithful than earlier ones. As the 
pictures taken at sea show, one rarely 
sees much of a live whale, unless it 
happens to jump clear; dead whales 
on the beach collapse into unnatural 
shapes, so that such a view is often 
more misleading than helpful. 


Our ships' people, especially those 
of the R.V. 'Bear', (Capt. E. J. 
Mysona), have always been of great 
help in finding whales, as well as in 
intelligently handling the vessel in 
subsequent maneuvers. We also de- 
pend on a number of our colleagues 
who often accompany us at sea. 
Among these are Stanley E. Poole, 
whose trained eyesight and seaman's 
skills have been a constant support 
to us; likewise William J. Shields and 
his dependable harpooning; Robert 
G. Weeks, who pilots our light air- 
plane, is better at identifying whales 
from the air than most cetologists; 
William A. Watkins combines acute 
eyesight with electronic ability, and 
is responsible for the quality of the 
phonograph record. 

* A limited number is available for general 
distribution and may be had by writing to 
Mr. W. Schevill, Woods Hole Oceanographic 
Institution, Woods Hole, Mass. (ed. ) 

Thar goes flukes! 

These are all Right Whale flukes, 
showing how different they may 

Characteristic double spout of 
the Right Whale. Other 
whales have a single spout, 
although the wind strength 
may confuse the ob- 

The double blowhole 

of the Right Whales is 

clearly shown (center). Another 

characteristic of Eubalaena glacialis 

is the encrusted head and "bonnet" 

Mr. Schevill is a marine 
biologist specializing in 
Cetacea and underwater 
sound. He has been on 
our staff since 1943. 

See also: "Of whales, fuel oil and 
ambergris", Oceanus, Vol. II, 2. "Thar 
goes flukes", Vol. IV, 4. "How cold is 
a whale's tail", Vol. V, 1 and 2. A 
breaching Humpback", Vol. V, 3 and 
4. "The lifelines of a whale", Vol. VI, 3. 



A sperm whale, Physeter catodon, showing characteristic corrugations. From greater 
distances the sperm can be recognized by its blunt head and oblique spout. 

Fun to watch but difficult to identify during the short period these porpoises were near the ship. 

- ,_ 




od of whales on the port bow!" At sun- 
e on a beautiful morning in the Medi- 
ranean the 'Atlantis' was cruising around 
wly, waiting for the arrival of the 
S.C.G. Cutter 'Yamacraw'. 

The sequence of left shows clearly how 
e must have control over a ship's move- 
;nf in order to come near enough for 
intification. A rubber life raft was set 
erboard for a close look. The final photo- 
ftp/i shows fhe characteristic fin and blunt 
ad of Globicephala, the blackfish or 
of whale. 




An international multiple ship study of the Atlantic 
Equatorial Region will take place in 1963 


A Brazil 

B Texas 

C Argentina 




G Geronimo (US) 

H Ombango (W. Africa) 

I West Africa 

J West Africa 


AM somewhat reluctant to write 
about a forthcoming cruise because 
no matter how general a description 
may be, the cruise itself always seems 
to differ so greatly from it advanced 
billing as to suggest that to write 
about what you hope to do will deline- 
ate what you will not be able to do. 

The 1961 winter-spring cruise of 
our R.V. 'Chain', to the Romanche 
Trench Region on the Equator* did 
something which exploratory cruises 
ought to do; raised more questions 
than it answered. The information 

obtained at that time concerning the 
Equatorial Undercurrent convinced 
us even while the cruise was in pro- 
gress that this was a current system 
worthy of much further study, and 
plans were laid at that time for con- 
tinuing the work on a broader scale. 
How much broader we did not real- 
ize until we returned home and 
learned of the widespread interest in 
the region that was developing 
among oceanographic and fishery 
agencies in the U. S. and other 

*See: 'Chain cruise 17", 
1, September 1961 

Oceanus VIII, 








Buoys Chain 

o Buoys Lomonosov 




Tentative cruise plan for the Equatorial 
region shows where our ships and those of 
other nations will be operating. The dots 

indicate where our R.V. 'Chain' and the 

Russian 'Lomonosov' will set out Richardson 

current meters on buoy stations. 

The U. S. Bureau of Commercial 
Fisheries, due to its interest in the 
tuna fisheries in the Gulf of Guinea, 
was already proposing an elaborate 
oceanographic and fisheries survey 
of that region. As the plans pro- 
gressed we found that our proposal 
for studying the western end of the 
Equatorial Undercurrent fitted in 
with other major plans for studying 
the whole Atlantic Equatorial belt. 

The study plans named 'Equa- 
lant' call not only for the partici- 
pation of the Bureau of Commercial 
Fisheries but also the U. S. Coast and 
Geodetic Survey; Texas A. & M., and 
New York University, while Russian, 
Argentinian and Brazilian oceano- 
graphic agencies and fishery labora- 
tories also are collaborating. With 
this participation it now looks as if 
we shall have quite a few ships there. 

In brief review, the Equatorial 
Undercurrent, as its counterpart in 
the Pacific, appears to be a strong 
steady easterly flow, centered on the 

Equator and extending in width only 
a hundred miles or so to the north 
and south. It lies normally beneath 
a thin surface layer of westerly drift, 
although during periods of prolonged 
calms the Undercurrent may make 
its effect felt at the surface. In the 
region between 10 and 20 West, 
studied by 'Chain' in 1961, the strong- 
est flow was between 50 and 100 
meters below the surface, while the 
lower side of the Undercurrent ap- 
peared to lie at about 400 meters. 
The water to the south and north, as 
well as above and below, all moves 
to the west in what has been known 
as the South Equatorial Current. 

The high salinity core in the 
strongest part of the flow is an 
identifying characteristic of the Un- 
dercurrent in the region studied. Pre- 
liminary estimates of the current's 
volume of flow put it in the order of 
some 40 million cubic meters per 
second or about equal to half the 
flow of the Gulf Stream off New 



Drogue buoy being towed eastward by 
the Atlantic Equatorial undercurrent. 

High salinity core is an identifying charac- 
teristic of the undercurrent. 

Even though the beginning and the 
end of the Undercurrent are not yet 
known it is obvious that this flow is 
a tremendously important feature of 
the circulation system of the equa- 
torial regions, so that it is easy to 
understand the great interest of so 
many oceanographers and fishery 

The plans for the coming studies, 
very roughly, call for the 'Crawford' 
to leave Woods Hole on 15 January 
to head for a quadrangle between 
10 North and 10 South between 
25 to 35 West, via the Cape Verde 
Islands. The 'Crawford's' time will 
be spent for the most part making 
closely spaced hydrographic stations 
along meridional sections. These sec- 
tions will be 150 miles apart, and the 
stations will be 15 miles apart near 
the Equator, increasing to 60 miles 
apart near the end of the sections. It 
is hoped that the in-situ salinometer 
will define the salinity maximum, 
which is such an important feature 
of the Undercurrent, in considerably 
more detail than would be possible 
with Nansen bottles. In addition the 
'Crawford' will carry out measure- 
ments with parachute drogues and 
with Richardson current meters low- 
ered from the ship. The ship is due 
back in Woods Hole by 1 May. 

In the meantime the 'Chain', which 
is scheduled to leave Woods Hole on 
1 February, will anchor a series of 
Richardson Toroid Buoys** support- 
ing current meters at various locations 


across the current. Some of these 
buoys will be left for the entire 
period of the operation, and others 
will be picked up and re-located at 
six day intervals. In addition to this 
work the 'Chain', on the way to and 
from the operating area as well as in 
the quadrangle where the major cur- 
rent studies will be made, will be 
carrying out a full and complex pro- 
gram. Observations will involve scat- 
tering layer studies, plankton towing 
and mid-water trawling, towing pitot 
tubes for current shear measure- 
ments, large volume sampling for 
radio-isotope studies, dredging and 
coring. The 'Chain' will return to 
Woods Hole in mid-May. 

Both ships will make several stops 
in Recife, Brazil, for fuel, provisions 
and changes in the scientific party. 

The Russian Oceanographic ship 
'Lomonosov' will also be working 
with buoyed current meters in the 
same area, and it is hoped that a 
number of comparisons can be made 
between our own techniques and 
equipment and that of Soviet ships. 

The Bureau of Commercial Fisher- 
ies' Washington Laboratory is con- 
cerned with coordinating the efforts 
of the various groups involved in the 
Equatorial Studies. It is expected 
that the data from all the groups will 
be gathered together and printed for 
general distribution by the U. S. 
National Oceanographic Data Center. 

**See: Current measurements from moored 
buoys. Oceanus, VIII, 2, December 1961 

Letter to the Editor 

Dear Sir, 

Like all oceanographers, your 
readers must find of interest the bits 
of history which let one infer who 
may have been the first person to do 
some of the rather simple but reward- 
ing things which are on record in 
such rich measure in our literature. 

I would refer to page seven of your 
September, 1962 issue which deals 
with "Project Litterbug". This use of 
paper sheets to reveal convergence 
lines and to throw light upon the 
subject of convection cells, naturally 
recalls much earlier work by W. H.O.I, 
scientists especially by Woodcock in 
the Physalia connection. The question 
of the concentration of floating objects 
along lines where two surface cur- 
rents meet, was much studied by 
Sandstrom half-a-century ago. The 
peculiar phenomenon of a wind oc- 
casioning a surface current in a 
direction opposite to its own on a 
weather shore was described and ex- 
plained by him in the reports of the 
Canadian Fisheries Expedition, 1914- 
15. In another place (see the refer- 
ence below) he reproduced a photo- 
graph of the resulting long "foam 
line" along which all manner of drift- 
wood, cork, froth, torn nets, etc., etc. 

collects. He found that the movement 
of the water is not the same inside 
and outside the boundary line, and 
had good reason to infer the exis- 
tence of a screwing movement below 
within the contact zone. Though his 
work upon this "sogenannte Schaum- 
randphanomen" (H. Pettersson's 
phrase) did not concern the open sea 
as did your "Litterbug Project", it is 
of interest to report that he did use 
paper markers in the course of it. 
Small paper floats soaked in salt 
water to impart the right density 
sank at the convergence and rose 
again shorewards of it with sufficient 
evidence of travel parallel to the line 
as to attest the subsurface presence 
of what he calls "la motion spirali- 
sante de 1'eau". 

I am, Sir, 
Yours Truly, 

J. N. Carruthers 

National Institute 
of Oceanography 
Wormley, Godalming, 

SANDSTROM, J. W. 1921 Deux theoremes 
foundamentaux de la dynamique de la 
mer Ur Svenska Hydrografisk-Biologiska 
Kommissionens Skrifter VI, 6 pp. 

Antibiotics from Shellfish 

The accidental discovery in 1960 that mice fed on canned abalone juice were 
more resistant to experimental poliomylitis than were those given other 
diets has stimulated a search for antibiotics in abalone and in oyster meat. 

A recent report by Dr. C. P. Li and his co-workers of Bethesda, Md., 
contains further data on the problem. Aba.lone extracts were fractionated on 
cellulose ion-exchange columns. One fraction was active against a number 
of gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, including penicillin-resistant 
staphylococci. However, this fraction has no antiviral activity. On the other 
hand, another fraction inhibited the growth of polyoma virus (a carcino- 
genic virus )and influenza A virus in monkey tissue cultures. 

Studies on fresh oysters showed that they contained similar anti- 
bacterial and antiviral substances. Activity against polioviruses was parti- 
cularly striking. 

The report appeared in the Transactions of the New York Academy 

of Sciences for March, 1962 (volume 24, page 504). 
See: Antibiotics in sea water, page 20. 





The 'Atlantis II' was launched in 
September 1962, at the Maryland 
Shipbuilding and Drydock Co. Our 
Dr. Mary Sears sponsored the 
vessel. Built with funds from the 
National Science Foundation, the 
ship is expected to be completed 
in January, 1963. Captain E. H. 
Hitler, master of the 'Chain' has 
been given command of the ship. 

The R.V. 'Anton Bruun' arrived at 
the Institution in late November. The 
ex-Presidential yacht 'Williamsburg' 
has been converted extensively and 
will depart soon to start the U.S. 
Biology Program for the International 
Indian Ocean Expedition, under the 
direction of Dr. John H. Ryther of 
our staff. 

Named after the famous Danish 
oceanographer, the ship also carries 
the title: "National Science Founda- 
tion" on her stern, to indicate her 
ownership. The operation of the 
ship itself is carried out by the 
Alpine Geophysical Associates, Inc. 

Four cruises are planned for the 
ship in 1963. 

Our neighbors, fhe Fish and Wildlife Service's 
Bureau of Commercial Fisheries received the new 
'Albatross IV in November. The 187 foot, 960 ton 
vessel will embark on a five year program to relate 
changes in environmental conditions with changes 
in fish populations. 



Antibiosis in Sea Water 

Please note transposition of 
columns (2) and (3). 


A compound found in sea water is 
capable of destroying the penicillin 
resistant staphyloccoci which plague 
our hospitals. 


_ recent years, a subtle type of 
interplay in living cells has been 
recognized. This is the phenomenon 
of antibiosis in which compounds 
produced by some organisms are 
lethal to certain bacteria. We are 
familiar with the spectacular results 
of the scientific and medical exploita- 
tion of this observation. "Antibi- 
otics" and "wonder drugs" have 
become a part of the vocabulary. But 
as so frequently happens euphony 
and usage breed familiarity but do 
not convey understanding. Antibi- 
otics generally are quite complex 
molecules. Definitive explanations 
how antibiotics act on living cells are 
lacking in most instances. Disturbing 
also is the observation that fungi or 
actinomycetes which elaborate the 
antibiotic compounds in such large 
amounts under laboratory conditions 
apparently do not produce them in 
nature in the very soils where such 
fungi are present in large numbers. 
It may be that the antibiotics are 
formed but are rapidly destroyed by 
the large microbial populations liv- 
ing among the fungi which produce 

There is no reason why antibiosis 
should be restricted to terrestrial 
organisms. Indeed, it has been known 
for seventy-five years that sea water 
possesses potent anti-bacterial ac- 
tivity which destroys terrestrial 
forms of bacteria. Investigations into 
the mechanism of this activity have 
almost invariably been performed 
using Escherichia coli and/or dysen- 
tery, typhoid or paratyphoid bacilli 
as test organisms since the problem 
of contamination of sea water, as a 
result of the flow of treated and un- 
treated sewage into the sea, is a 
problem of deep public health signifi- 
cance. There is almost universal 
agreement that marine waters are 
more or less strongly bactericidal to 
gram negative 1 intestinal bacteria. 

i On the basis of a stain devised by a 
Scandinavian bacteriologist, Gram, bacteria 
in general, can be divided into two groups, 
so-called Gram positive and negative. 

have dealt only with gram negative 
bacteria, it was decided to test the 
effect of marine water on gram posi- 
tive organisms as well. Organisms 
studied were the gram negative 
Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeru- 
ginosa, Proteus vulgaris, Aerobacter 
aerogenes and Aerobacter cloacae. 
Gram positive organisms studied 
included fully virulent penicillin- 
sensitive and penicillin-resistant 
Staphylococcus aureus (both isolated 
from human patients) Staphylococ- 
cus epidermidis and Micrococcus 

Samples of surface water from two 
miles off the Cape Cod shore were 
analyzed and it was established that, 
in those instances where the sea 
water exhibited activity, only the 
gram positive organisms were killed. 
Depending on the sample, kill varied 
from 90-100% in 24 hours. For the 
most part, the gram negative cells 
actually increased in numbers during 
the period of observation. These lat- 
ter results are at variance with those 
reported by others. However, a 
reasonable explanation may be that 
organic material in concentrations of 
greater than 50 mg/liter (as reported 
by Vaccaro and Ketchum) reversed 
the bactericidal effect of sea water 
on coliforms (gram negative). The 
concentrations of organic material in 
our experiments were at this thres- 
hold level. Apparently these levels 
of organic material are unable to 
reverse the effects of sea water upon 
the gram positive organisms. 

Further analysis indicated that the 
inhibitory compound is of higher 
molecular weight, thus eliminating 
inorganic salts as the source of lethal 
activity. It has also been shown that 
the antibiotic compound is present 
in all specimens of water taken from 
Vineyard Sound, varying only quan- 
titatively since, upon concentration 
of the sample, activity is always 
present. It should be noted that con- 
centrated samples never inhibit the 
gram-negative bacteria used and in- 
variably kill all gram positive cells 
studied. In numerous instances, 
sterilization of the added bacteria has 
occurred. There is as yet no informa- 


R. Vaccaro and B. H. Ketchum of 
this Institution made the important 
observation that such bactericidal 
activity is highly dependent upon the 
amount of organic material present. 
When the level of organic matter 
was increased to a concentration 
greater than 50 mg/liter, the bacteri- 
cidal activity dropped off sharply 
and in some instances was almost 
abolished. We shall return to this 
point later. 

Recent investigations of the tox- 
icity of marine waters for terrestrial 
bacteria have dealt with the mech- 
anism of the activity. Two theories 
have been advanced focusing upon 
either physical or biological causes. 
Proponents of the physical explana- 
tion would ascribe the activity as 
being due to osmotic effects, pres- 
ence or absence of dissolved gases, 
unfavorable oxidation-reduction po- 
tentials, etc. Those favoring the 
biological thesis have considered 
predation, specific viral infections of 
bacteria and latterly, the production 
of antibiotic-like compounds by 
marine organisms. 

We have made some observations 
which indicate that at the least a 
significant part of the antibacterial 
activity of sea water can be ascribed 
to the presence of a compound 
which has marked lethality against 
gram positive organisms. On prelim- 
inary consideration this compound 
appears to possess certain of the 
attributes of an antibiotic. However, 
the source of the substance remains 
unknown. At random, one might 
expect a reasonably close distribu- 
tion of gram positive and gram nega- 
tive bacteria in various sites. On 
land this expectation prevails within 
rough limits except under highly 
selective conditions. Therefore, it is 
surprising that in the oceans the 
vast majority of organisms are gram 
negative. One possible explanation 
could be the presence of substance in 
oceanic waters which selectively in- 
hibits gram positive forms and to 
which gram negative cells are indif- 
ferent. For this reason and because 
almost all previous reports on the 
antibacterial activity of sea water 

tion concerning the molecular struc- 
ture of the lethal activity. 

Practical use 

There is some practical as well as 
theoretical significance in these 
observations. Effective treatment of 
penicillin-resistant staphylococcal in- 
fections remains a major problem in 
medicine. The fact that the inhibitor 
found in seawater is more active 
against penicillin-resistant than 
against penicillin-sensitive staphylo- 
cocci, obviously presents clinical pos- 
sibilities. Beyond this, other than the 
character of penicillin-resistance, the 
author knows of no clear-cut differ- 
ences between the two strains of 
staphylococci. The two types seem 
identical in growth requirements and 
metabolism, yet a degree of sensi- 
tivity to a product present in sea 
water presumably differentiates the 
two forms. Such a large, presumably 
organic, molecule which is present at 
all times, and thus is stable, in sea 
water is of biochemical interest. This 
stability as compared to that of 
similar substances in soil may be due 
to the dilute population of compound 
destroying cells in the sea. In this 
connection it should be noted that 
workers at the National Institutes of 
Health, .Bethesda, Maryland, have 
isolated a high molecular weight 
substance from the juices of various 
molluscs (abalone and oysters) which 
inhibits growth of staphylococci and 
various human viruses. When their 
substance and our molecule have 
been obtained in purified form, it 
will be interesting to compare their 

As indicated earlier, the demon- 
stration of- a substance present in sea 
water which seems to inhibit gram 
positive bacteria selectivity could 
account for the preponderance of 
gram negative forms in the sea. If 
found to be tenable, this would be 
antibiosis on a vast scale dwarfing 
all known terrestrial situations. Ob- 
viously much remains to be done and 
the results reported are only a begin- 
ning, but enough is already known 
to make it clear to a heretofore 
"terrestrial" microbiologist that the 
seas indeed present microbiological 
problems of primary importance. 

DR. SAZ, marine microbiologist on our staff is Chief of the Medical and Physiological Bac- 
teriology section. Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, NIAD, National Institutes of Health. 


Doubleday & Company, Inc., 

New York, 1962; 297pp., 

Hundreds of 111., $9.95. 

Also published as "Oceans", 

Paul Hamlyn, London, 1962. 

General Editor; G. E. R. Deacon, 

Director of the National Institute 

of Oceanography, England 

HIS large handsome book is an excellent example of popularization 
of an infinitely complex subject. Lavishly illustrated, its various 
chapters were written by experts in their fields. 

The initial chapter by T. F. Gaskell reviews briefly various 
theories on formation of the seas and continents, and submarine 
geology. This is followed by a history of exploration by Edward 
Shackleton, much less successful due rather to a mainly sophomoric 
style and some abuse of nautical terminology. 

Maurice Burton's section on life in the sea, and that of N. C. 
Flemming on sunken cities, I found fascinating and well written. 

Throughout, the excellence of the illustrations, both antique and 
modern, was marred, to my mind, by repetitious use of a contour map 
of the oceans in a variety of dazzling colors. This serves to demon- 
strate currents, fisheries, voyages, geologic deposits and numerous 
other items, none of which are decipherable without magnification, 
even for people who are not, like myself, colorblind. The whole work 
could have stood some critical proofreading typographical errors 
abound, some captions are erroneous, and there are several unneces- 
sary examples of confusing writing. 

The latter part of the book consists of a group of essays by such 
men as Deacon and John C. Swallow, dealing with the sea floor, 
waves, currents and tides. These cover comprehensively much of 
modern oceanography, while a concluding piece surveys the future 
relationship of mankind with the sea. A brief department of amplifi- 
cation, a lengthy bibliography and the index follow. 

Aside from the regrettable maps, the only major lack that comes 
to mind is neglect of the air-sea interchange, and its importance to 
world weather and environment. 

Dana Densmore 



Rediscovering The Sea 

V^/UR work is a search for knowledge rivaled only by research in 
the astronomical and astronautical sciences. The development of 
scientific understanding of the ocean is documented in a three-volume 
work, entitled "The Sea: Ideas and Observations on Progress in the 
Study of the Seas." Edited by Dr. M. N. Hill, a member of the Depart- 
ment of Geodesy and Geophysics at Cambridge University, England, 
"The Sea" includes contributions by ninety-seven internationally 
recognized authorities (including many of our staff members) and 
presents a comprehensive and detailed survey of all aspects of 
present-day oceanography. 

This major accomplishment was made possible through the intro- 
duction of new concepts of sciences such as hydrodynamics and 
geochemistry; through the development and application of new 
techniques at sea and in the laboratory; and through an intensified 
international exchange of ideas, results and methods. 

In the belief that the time was ripe for a new and comprehen- 
sive treatment of our present knowledge of oceanography, the 
internationally-known contributors to "The Sea" attempt to reflect 
our present understanding. Plans for the undertaking were begun 
in 1957. Dr. Roger Revelle and his group of collaborators at the 
Scripps Institution of Oceanography, instrumental in mapping out 
the original course of action, soon enlisted the assistance of the other 
major oceanographic research centers, including Woods Hole. The 
tremendous task of coordinating and integrating the material and 
the final selection of contributors fell on the shoulders of Dr. Hill. 
It soon became apparent that it would be impossible to produce a 
completely balanced, systematic and comprehensive presentation of 
the whole field in a reasonable time. The editorial group, which 
consisted of Drs. Hill, E. D. Goldberg, C. O'D. Iselin, and W. H. Munk, 
therefore decided to present a collection of individual articles and 
essays by outstanding oceanographers, each dealing with the areas 
in which he is expert. 

The total work will be presented in three volumes. The first consists 
of new thoughts and ideas on Physical Oceanography; the second on 
the Composition of Sea Water and Comparative Descriptive Ocean- 
ography; and the third on the Earth Beneath the Sea. Published by 
Interscience Publishers, a division of John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 
Volume I is now out and is priced at $25.00. 









Associates' Cruise 

OEVERAL hundred Associates enjoyed the first race for the America's 
Cup off Newport, on board three of our ships. Although the water was 
slightly "knobby", 99.8% of the Associates were good seamen and enjoyed 
the day. Part of the huge spectator fleet is seen in the background of this 
photo taken by Fred Turkington of the Falmouth Enterprise. 

Associate Dan Strohmeier 
chats with 'Bus' 
Mosbacher and crew 
under the hull of 
'Weatherly' hauled out 
during a lay-over day 
in the America's Cup 
race series. 



UH 17ZB H 

Associates' News 

Gifts of boats always welcome. 


'VER the years the Institution has been given quite a few boats, large 
and small, by Associates. Some have been sold immediately, others have 
been used for our work. Among the many recent gifts from Associates is 
a 26 foot bass boat, donated by Associate Donald F. Carpenter. The 
'Nobska', built by Erford Burt of Vineyard Haven, will be used by the 
Institution for work in the harbor and nearby waters. 

End of year gifts. 

As this issue went to press we are pleased to announce that year-end 
gifts for our educational program have started to come in and show a most 
gratifying response from the Associates, our Trustees, foundations and 
other friends. 

,HE ASSOCIATES of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution are a group 
of individuals, corporations and other organizations who, because of their love 
for the sea and interest in science and education, support and encourage the 
research and related activities of the Institution. 

Membership dues in the Associates are as follows: 

Member $50 

Contributing Member $100 

Patron $500 

Life Member . . , $1,000 

Corporate Member $1,000 

Sustaining Corporate Member $5,000 or more. 

All contributions and dues are tax deductible to the extent provided by law. 

HOMER H. EWING, President 

RONALD A. VEEDER, Executive Assistant 






VOL. IX, No. 2, December 1962 



by W. E. Schevill 


by W. G. Metcalf 


by A. K. Saz 






Published by the